Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunview Organic Raisins

I have always been partial to organic raisins. Aside from the obvious reasons that they are not contaminated with any harmful agricultural chemicals or post-harvest preservatives, they look fabulous - all clear, shiny goodness - and they taste great.

These Sunview Organic Raisins are the icing on the raisin cake for me. I have never seen - or eaten - such a perfect raisin in all my life. They are so sweet, yet clean tasting and they have a nice firm bite and don't stick to your teeth like some raisins do.

And they are massive! I just had to show you in the pic, as you can see the biggest one is 2cm long.

This is Max's snack of choice and I keep them on a low shelf in the pantry so he can help himself. He can pour a small portion into a ramekin that live on the same shelf which keeps him busy as only a few of these raisins fits into these tiny ramekins at one time. And this might also explain the munted raisin packaging in the photo!

This makes him feel very independent as he doesn't have to ask me to do it for him. As he just turned the big 03, he prefers to do things "all by himself" these days :) Given the size of these raisins, if he spills some, it is easy for him to put them back in the container.

I am going to test these giant raisins in my favourite oatmeal cookie recipe and let you know how it goes. It's too bloody hot to bake this week so I am hoping for a cool evening to try this recipe soon...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Zucchini Success Tip

Just a quick post tonight. Have had a busy week already and it's only Tuesday! I was on a business course in the city this morning, Max is down with a virus, it is my Mom's second last day of her 6 week visit from Canada and, as a result, Isobel is a couple of days late being introduced a new food, she hasn't noticed thank goodness.

I haven't cooked that kumara yet and I think it is starting to fester in the pantry. It's growing little limbs. And I had such good intentions to cook it straight away when I bought it last week, or was it 2 weeks ago? Okay maybe not fester, but I had better pick up something fresh to cook tomorrow for Isobel. She is really starting to munch into her freshly frozen baby puree cube supply in the freezer.

The solids update is that Isobel now loves long as it is mixed in with some apple or pear. So if at first you don't succeed with a veggie, don't think too much about it. Try again in a few days, sometimes it takes a few tries of the new taste until they become used to it. I persisted with Isobel every 3 days for over a week to no avail, until I mixed in some fruit.

Thank you to Sarah from Wellington for this helpful tip! Your tips and comments are always welcome - you can also comment using the contact page at

Friday, January 22, 2010

Baby Fast Food - banana

Bananas are the ultimate baby puree fast food. This entire process takes less than 5 minutes. You don't even need electricity or any fancy gadgets, just a simple masher. And the more you mash them, the sweeter they seem to get.

Today Isobel was meant to try a new food but I have been very busy the past couple of days and hadn't cooked anything new for her. There is some kumara in the pantry hopefully not getting too old for tomorrow's baby food batch. Luckily, I had 2 ripe bananas so I was all set.

This spur-of-the-moment banana baby puree was enough for a lunch taster for Isobel and also filled 9 cubes in the tray which will be delicious mixed in with her baby organic rice cereal at dinner.

Recipe for Bananas:
I don't think this qualifies as an actual recipe, but you simply put your bananas into a bowl and mash away until you get a somewhat smooth and runny consistency to the puree. 1 large or 2 small bananas should fill 7 cubes or 1 row; 3-4 large bananas to fill the whole freezing tray. The next time I mash bananas I will take a more scientific approach to my quantities and update this recipe.

Nutritional Information for Bananas:
Bananas are a naturally sweet tropical fruit. They are a good source of fibre, Vitamins A, C, B6 and potassium. They are a great energy food for baby's rapidly growing body.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Introducing Isobel

Here is the little bunny after having her lunch today - it is a humid summer's day in Auckland. This high chair was unceremoniously vacated by her nearly 3 yr old brother only a week before she started solids. "I'm going to sit in a "big" chair now Mummy" and that was it. Thank goodness too as he had refused to budge for such a long time - I had visions (nightmares!) about having 2 high chairs at the table as he wasn't budging for the last 6 months whenever the subject came up.

After a dismal attempt at tastings of both zucchini and cauliflower for the past 4 days, we reverted back to a carrot/apple medley today from my growing cube supply in the freezer. She loves the apple and doesn't mind the carrot too much.

Today was also the first time I combined food tastes, a little early on as she is not even 6 months old yet. I know I really should keep the tastes separate until she gets to know each one on its own a little better but I suppose this is my attempt to make sure she gets some veggies as she seems to be very partial to the sweet fruits from such a young age!

After one teeny tiny taste of zucchini, her lips were shut tight and she gave me a look of shock and horror as if to say, "don't even try that again". She was more receptive to the cauliflower but would only take a few little spoonfuls and then the tight lips again, this time coupled with a shake of the head.

The courgette was really easy to prepare and steam and cooked surprisingly quickly (maybe only 10 minutes?).

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

It's All Orange to Me #2

And here are the carrots, you can see how I got it all mixed up with the pumpkin...or can you? The carrot is clearly a darker and deeper colour of orange!

Of course, this mix-up is unlikely to happen again as all of the cubes are neatly stored in their clearly labeled freezer bags for longer-term storage. Removing the cubes and transferring to a zip-lock bag is good for 2 reasons:

1. It frees up the trays so you can use them to cook and freeze something else, and

2. The food stays fresh for longer.

Note: 1 tray of frozen puree cubes - that's 21 cubes - is about 2 month's supply when bubs is having a cube now and then and about 1 month's supply when they are really eating up a storm and having a couple of these same cubes a few times a week.

Recipe for Pureed Carrots:
For 7 cubes or to fill 1 row of the mumi&bubi BPA-free freezing tray, use 250g or 2 medium carrots.
For 21 cubes or to fill the entire tray, use 750g or 6 medium carrots.
-peel and wash carrots, then dice.
-Lightly steam or gently simmer in a saucepan with 2-3 tablespoons of boiling water until tender. Cover and allow to cool. Mash with a fork for older babies or puree using some of the reserved cooking water with a handheld blender or food processor.
-spoon portions into the premium freezing tray, cover with the lid and freeze.

Nutritional Information for Carrots:
Carrots are an excellent source of Vitamin A and are good for your baby's eyesight and skin. One cup of raw carrots has only 52 calories and is a good source of insoluble fibre.

It's All Orange to Me

Okay, so I have to remember to feed Isobel her solids today - twice. This is not something I thought that I would ever have to write down, but it has come to this.

She had pumpkin for the second day in a row at lunch today and had about half a cube by default. By "default" I mean that most of what I put in came right out again and we continued until she had about half a cube. She really delighted in playing this game!

This is one part of parenthood that before I had kids I thought I would find really tedious. But now that I am here, with 2 kids, there is nothing that I would rather be doing than playing this pumpkin game with Isobel as it means that I am not posting invoices or organising shipping from one of my suppliers or stuck in traffic or watching that pile of laundry get even bigger. Right now at this moment in time is just for Isobel and me to enjoy together, it is very precious.

At least I thought it was pumpkin....yesterday I steamed about 750g of organic pumpkin and after I pureed and spooned it into my mumi&bubi BPA-free freezing trays, I thought I might as well steam those organic carrots that were in the fridge while I was at it. Food should be cooked as fresh as possible after all, and not be left to fester for too long in the fridge. So, overnight in my freezer, I had 1 tray of pumpkin and 1 tray of carrots. I wouldn't recommend anyone to freeze to trays of what looks like near-identical food unless you have a really good memory, or keep good notes!

After licking some of this "defaulted pumpkin" off of my arm - I like to think that I am somewhat of a lady, the kind of person who would never lick food off of their own arm, but having babies changes this perception into a whole new reality - I was surprised to find that this pumpkin actually tasted more like mild, sweet carrot!

So, Isobel had pumpkin and carrot on alternating days, and she seems just fine with this. As for me, I will try keep my food colours separate on my baby food cooking days. Tomorrow: Zucchini and Cauliflower...

Recipe for Pumpkin:
Butternut Pumpkin, 250g to make 7 cubes or 750g to fill 21 cubes or 1 whole freezing tray.
-peel pumpkin and cut into cubes or small pieces.
-lightly steam or gently simmer in a saucepan with 2-3 tablespoons of boiling water. Cover and allow to cool. Mash with a fork for older babies or puree using a handheld blender or food processor.
-place portions into your mumi&bubi premium freezing tray, cover with the lid and freeze.

Nutritional Information for Pumpkin:
The orange colour signifies that it is high in beta-carotene and is good for your baby's eyes and skin. It is also good for the immune system and helps to keep you healthy during cold & flu season. 1 cup of pumpkin contains only 30 calories and is a good source of potassium.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Disaster #1?

Here are my lovely apple cubes freshly frozen in my mumi&bubi BPA-free freezing tray, with one ready to be introduced at lunchtime. I got some delicious Pacific Rose apples from IE Produce when I was there for my rice cereal mission. 3 large sized apples filled the tray with only a bite to spare.

If you have a baby starting solids soon, or already on solid food, making your own baby food is a lot easier than you might think. For this apple recipe, simply wash, peel and core each apple and cut into similar size pieces. I lightly steamed these apples using my stainless steel steamer inside of a pot with a little bit of water on the bottom, steaming is ideal for retaining all of the nutritional goodness. You could also simmer the apples until tender. Whichever way you choose, be sure to save the water and use that when pureeing for a good liquid-y consistency.

I follow the solids theory that you should start a new food at lunchtime, have the same new food for 2-3 days or so, then move on. With all of the fruits and veg on offer, there is a lot to get through! From now on, she will have her rice cereal at dinnertime mixed with a fruit or veg that she has had previously on its own at lunchtime.

Isobel loved her apple puree after her bottle at lunch, she had nearly a whole cube which is about 2Tbsp. Enter Disaster #1 that evening.

Dinner that night was hectic to say the least: Both "Nana" and "Grammy from Canada" were at dinner, Max was buzzing around as it was his first day back at daycare after the Christmas holiday so he was dual-ly excited about seeing his friends again and having both nanas over at the same time, and I had 2 glasses of wine. Now, I hardly ever drink, let alone on a weekday so I was pretty relaxed and enjoying the moment with my family.

The sun was shining as it was setting, we were out on the deck, it was a lovely summer evening. Isobel was very content as I kissed her goodnight and put her to bed after her bottle....without her solids. Oh my goodness, only 3 days onto this and I forgot to feed my baby girl her dinner solids!

OMG - what kind of mother am I??? This kind of thing never happens with first babies. At this rate, if I have a 3rd baby, it will hardly get fed at all. Not that she missed it, but let me tell you, I'll be missing my sleep when I have to get up at 5am to feed her because she is hungry...

Recipe for Pureed Apple:
Apple, 250g or 2 medium apples to fill 7 cubes or 1 row, 750g or 6 medium apples to make 21 cubes and fill 1 whole tray.
-wash, peel and core and quarter apples
-lightly steam or gently simmer with 2-3 tablespoons of boiling water with lid on until tender. Mash for older babies or puree using some of the reserved cooking water using a handheld blender or food processor
-spoon portions into your mumi&bubi premium BPA-free freezing tray, cover with the lid and freeze

Nutritional Information for Apple
Apples are rich in Vitamin C which is important for your baby's developing teeth and gums. 1 medium apple, without the skin, contains approx 65 calories.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Baby Organic Rice Cereal

I really should have taken a pic of the box of cereal before I emptied the contents into my stainless steel container! But I do love how I saved the label and instructions with my lime green Happy Tape.

When Max started solids 2.5 years ago, there was only 1 choice for baby rice cereal on the shelves at IE Produce, our local organic store: Earth's Best Organic Wholegrain Baby Rice Cereal. When I popped in there last week to pick up a box for Isobel, I was impressed by the offerings. There had to be at least 6 different brands and many varieties from each company. The selection was a bit overwhelming so I did the boring thing and went with what I knew. I prefer to keep things simple.

A couple of days ago, Isobel started on her first ever solids with baby organic rice cereal. On the first day, she had a taste of the cereal and seemed to really love the new experience. In all, she polished off about 1 tsp of cereal mixed with 3-4 tsp of formula. The second day, she had a whole tablespoon with 3-4 Tbsp of formula. This was all going too well. Could this good eating continue???

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Meeting the mumi&bubi 'Solids Starter Kit'

I did it for my son Max who will be 3 soon and, as a result of experiencing real food right from the start, is not a fussy eater at all.

I was determined to make all of Max's baby food from scratch: first-time Mum, not working, it was only natural to me. But after a couple of weeks of cooking, pureeing and freezing in my little ice cube trays, it became a real chore. The novelty had totally worn off and I asked my friends at coffee group for some tips to keep me going.

My friend Sonya said she had just the thing and produced from her cupboard the most stylish and modern ice cube tray I had ever seen. Of course, it wasn't an ice cube tray at all - it was a premium, BPA-free freezing tray designed specifically for freezing big batches of homemade baby food. Where did this come from??? It was called the mumi&bubi 'Solids Starter Kit' and came with 2 trays with lids and a step-by-step guide. I had to have one. I could now resume my super-mum ways and continue to make all of my son's baby food, it was so easy with these new trays.

I am proud to say that Max had only healthy homemade baby food, made by me - and sometimes his Dad - until he was about 1 and was ready to eat what we were eating all of the time. The mumi&bubi 'Solids Starter Kit' made this process so simple and easy that not only did I become the NZ distributor for this fabulous baby product, I ended up buying the whole company in 2009 when I was pregnant with my second baby!

Isobel was born in August 2009 and she is now ready to start solids. Oh my how times flies, rolling like a tumbleweed and 2 teeth for ages now. She is big for her age, very active (and I thought Max was busy!) and showing all of the classic signs that she is ready so we have been advised to start her now at 5 months.

So here is the challenge: Can a work-at-home-mum with 2 kids, a husband who works shifts and a business that is actually busy all of a sudden really make all of her own healthy homemade baby food??? Let's find out together...